Ellis Levin punishes dissenting board member days before his Judicial Election

Eleven bar associations have found Ellis B. Levin (our association lawyer) “not qualified, not recommended” as a Judicial candidate. Most owners who have encountered Levin’s abrasive and aggressive manor would not be at all surprised by this. He is well known to empower and enable condo board presidents to “bully” residents and board members who have dissenting opinions, both at our building and others he was eventually fired from.

Most recently, Levin is helping Mrs. Ingold, the building manager/president of the board to punish Ms. Cathy McCarty, a board member who initially fell out of favor with Mrs. Ingold after she tried to persuade Mrs. Ingold in vain to look at more than the single contractor bid that Mrs. Ingold had chosen to complete our roof repair. Of course, Mrs. Ingold got the contractor she wanted even though their bid were over $100,000 more than Ms. McCarty’s bid.

Levin sent Ms. McCarty this letter, in which she was fined $450 and also has to pay $1554 for Levin’s legal fees. In her response, she paid the fine in protest, but not the legal fees. Now, Ellis Levin and Mrs. Ingold have sent her a notice informing her that if she does not pay Levin’s legal fees, she will be evicted from her own condo. Ms. McCarty has been on time with all her mortgage and assessment payments, so such a threat is unwarranted. The majority of our rubber stamp board endorses this fine and obviously does not represent building owners, but if we as unit owners allow this harassment of Ms. McCarty to continue, it will set a very dangerous precedent. Ironically, in another incident, Levin has helped a renter (not from our building) remain in a unit without paying rent.

At least Ellis Levin has made clear that his hourly rate is $185 per hour. Levin is present for the duration of every board meeting, and these meetings can last well over 3-4 hours if you include the “in camera” portions of the meeting where the board actually makes its decision prior to the public meeting. We are also charged this amount when he writes us threatening letters (which most unit owners have received at some point while at TBN). We as building owners are paying him this rate to just sit around and occasionally threaten us and protect the building manager / president of the board. Obviously this is a waste of our money, and this guy is now running for Judge!

The $1554 legal fees Levin is charging for 8.5 hours of “work” are obviously for the hours he sat in the board meetings, during which a small portion (most likely less that 5 minutes seeing how this rubber stamp board works) was spent discussing Ms. McCarty’s fine.  Our board would have paid these fees as they do for every meeting, but the charges have been passed on to Ms. McCarty to unfairly increase the punitive damages to her.

Even though Ellis Levin was found to be less than qualified by eleven bar associations, this does not preclude him from winning a seat on the bench. Judge Vanessa Hopkins was found to be ‘Not Qualified’ back in 1996, but she still got on the bench, and last year she missed 206 days of work. Levin’s election for a seat on the bench is on March 12, 2012.

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